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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Ph.D.: Hospitality & Tourism Concentration

Hospitality and Tourism Concentration

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2021

This program will prepare you for a career in research and teaching at institutions throughout the United States and abroad.

The coursework includes several hospitality and tourism business management courses as well as a group of research design and statistics courses. You will also complete courses in supporting fields of inquiry such as psychology, sociology, management, marketing, etc. The program typically requires four years to finish, including courses, a second-year paper, a comprehensive exam, and a doctoral dissertation. Applicants with strong hospitality and tourism business backgrounds are preferred. Incoming students are expected to have both good written and oral communication skills, as well as the analytical skills required to master research methods and statistics.

Admission requirements

A minimum admissions index score of 1250 is required to be considered for admission. The index is based on the formula GPA x 200 + GMAT (and a TOEFL of 580 for ESL students). There is not a minimum GMAT score requirement. However, successful candidates typically exceed 650.

We prefer the GMAT, but we do accept the GRE test as a substitute. In either case, the exam must have been taken within 5 years of the time of application to WSU. A GMAT conversion will be applied to the GRE score submitted by applicants who take the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides a conversion chart. The converted GRE score will then be applied to the Carson College of Business admissions index score in the same manner as a standard GMAT score.

Desired prerequisites

In general, you must meet the following prerequisites to be accepted into the program:

  • A master’s degree (M.S., M.A. in a related discipline, or MBA), although outstanding applicants with bachelor’s degree will be considered
  • A minimum GMAT score of 600
  • A GPA higher than 3.25 on a 4.00 scale
  • Hospitality and/or tourism related background (educational or professional)
  • Interests and goals that complement faculty interests and the program’s goals
  • Letters of recommendation supporting your candidacy for admission
  • A substantial industry experience (strongly preferred)

While applicants may have diverse profiles, an educational or business background that reflects an understanding of and interest in hospitality and tourism is advantageous. Students with an MBA or business experience, in particular, are preferred. Because the program is focused on graduating students qualified to teach at high-quality, research-oriented institutions, you should have good command of the English language, both spoken and written, and have a reasonable level of skill in mathematics to facilitate the mastery of research methods and statistics. You should also have competencies in hospitality and tourism business management in addition to accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, operations management, and computer skills.  If you are deficient in any of these areas, additional coursework and preparation beyond the major course of study may be required. Your advisory committee will determine these requirements.

Major field requirements

13 credits

These courses will enable you to develop proficiency in your primary area of study.

  • HBM 591: Seminar in Services Management
  • HBM 592: Seminar in Current Issues in Travel and Tourism
  • Mktg 593: Survey of Research Methods
  • BA 598: Research and Professional Development Seminar (1 credit course)
  • HBM 600: Independent Study (Second-year Research Project)

Business electives

6 credits

You are required to complete at least 2 of the following graduate-level business courses:

  • EconS/Fin 596: Advanced Topics in Financial Economics
  • MGTOP 516 Time Series
  • HBM 581: Services Management
  • IBus 580: International Business Management
  • MgtOp 597: Seminar in Organizational Behavior
  • MgtOp 597: Seminar in Organizational Theory
  • MgtOp 597: Seminar in Strategic Management
  • MIS 572: Database Management Systems
  • MIS 574: Telecommunications and Networking in Business
  • MIS 582: Systems Analysis and Design
  • Mktg 590: Seminar in Consumer Behavior
  • Mkgt 591: Seminar in Marketing Management
  • Mkgt 592: Seminar in Marketing Foundations

Supporting field requirements

9 credits

Coursework in the area of specialization is intended to provide necessary skills and knowledge to conduct research in a chosen field. Courses must be related to an area of study selected by the student and approved by the doctoral student’s committee. Supporting doctoral level coursework may be selected from areas such as (but not limited to) research seminars in anthropology, psychology, sociology, economics, management, international business, information systems, marketing, communication, etc. Additional coursework in HBM may also be taken, with approval of your program committee.

Research tool requirements

12 credits

You select a minimum of 4 research tool courses with the approval of your program committee.

  • ANOVA (e.g., Psych 511, Stat 512, Stat 530, Stat 507, Soc 522)
  • Regression/Econometrics (e.g., Soc 521, Stat 513, Stat 533, Stat 535, Econ 511, Econ 512)
  • Psychometric Theory (e.g., Psych 513/514, Stat 520)
  • Multivariate Statistics (e.g., Psych 512, Stat 519, MgtOp 519, MgtOp 591) or Applied Structural Equation Modeling (Psych 516)

With the approval of your program committee, you may substitute other courses for those listed, if they comprehensively address the topic areas identified. Although four research tool courses are required, you may choose additional research courses as part of your supporting field requirements.

Optional Practical Training

Relevant work experience in the hospitality industry is highly encouraged.

Annual review and comprehensive exams

Annual reviews and comprehensive exams will be scheduled to assess your overall mastery of the core body of knowledge in the field and your preparedness to undertake research independently or with minimal supervision. The coordinator of Ph.D. program in hospitality and tourism and your program committee, along with appropriate advisors, will annually review your publications and research efforts and progress. This may include a qualifying exam each year depending on the program committee’s review of your progress. The Comprehensive Exam (scheduled sometime during the third year in the program) will test your knowledge in five areas:

  1. Hospitality and tourism major field requirements. Hospitality and tourism core knowledge includes a thorough understanding of hospitality and tourism, and behavioral research methods.
  2. Business electives. You should be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of understanding of theories and research methods aligned with those business disciplines chosen for further study, including finance, information systems, international business, management and operations, and/or marketing.
  3. Hospitality and tourism research. You should be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of hospitality and tourism research, including explanatory theories and past research findings. You also will be expected to demonstrate command of the relevant literature from your supporting field.
  4. Hospitality and tourism research methods and statistics. You also should have an extensive knowledge of statistics and the research methodologies that can be employed to study hospitality and tourism phenomena from a behavioral standpoint.
  5. Oral and written communication skills. Given the program’s focus on producing hospitality and tourism scholars who can be successful at other accredited, peer or better research universities, you will be expected to show a high level of skill in written and oral comprehensive exams, research presentations at national/international conferences, and publications in hospitality and tourism journals.


Jenny Kim, Ph.D.
School of Hospitality Business Management
Todd Hall 331C

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 9
Number of students enrolled in program: 8
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 100%
Industry experience preferred
Priority application deadline: January 10